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Amazing: Saudi Arabia To Build a Female-Only City For Women

A women-only industrial city dedicated to female workers is to be constructed in Saudi Arabia to provide a working environment that is in line with the kingdom’s strict customs.

The city, to be built in the Eastern Province city of Hofuf, is set to be the first of several planned for the Gulf kingdom. The aim is to allow more women to work and achieve greater financial independence, but to maintain the gender segregation, according to reports.

Proposals have also been submitted for four similar industrial cities exclusively for women entrepreneurs, employers and employees in Riyadh.

Segregation of the sexes is applied in Saudi Arabia, where Wahabi sharia law and tribal customs combine to create an ultra-conservative society that still does not allow women to drive. Saudi women are said to make up about 15% of the workforce, with most in female-only work places. Although the number of mixed gender workplaces has increased these are still few.

Proposals for four similar women-only cities in Saudia Arabia have been submitted. Segregration of the sexes is applied throughout the kingdom. Photograph: AFP/Getty

The proposals follow government instructions to create more job openings for women to enable them to have a more important role in the country’s development.

The Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon), which is developing the women-only industrial city at Hofuf, said it hoped the city would open next year. Prince Mansour bin Miteb bin Abdulaziz, minister of municipal and rural affairs, had approved the plan, a spokesperson said.

“I’m sure that women can demonstrate their efficiency in many aspects and clarify the industries that best suit their interests, nature and ability,” said Modon’s deputy director general, Saleh al-Rasheed.

The Hofuf development is expected to create about 5,000 jobs in textiles, pharmaceuticals and food-processing industries, with women-run firms and production lines. Modon said the Hofuf industrial site was a suitable location given its “proximity to residential neighbourhoods to facilitate the movement of women to and from the workplace”.

In a statement it added that the site was equipped “for women workers in environment and working conditions consistent with the privacy of women according to Islamic guidelines and regulations”.

The project has been proposed by a group of Saudi businesswomen, said Al Eqtisadiah, the business daily, quoting the business woman Hussa al-Aun. She told the paper: “The new industrial city should have a specialised training centre to help women develop their talents and train them to work at factories. This is essential to cut unemployment among our female graduates.”

The oil rich kingdom has one of the world’s largest disparities between male and female employment, with a gap of 23%, according to a recent Gallup poll, arabianbusiness.com reported.

An increasing number of firms were insisting that women had to be unmarried to qualify for employment; this violated the kingdom’s workforce regulations, reports said. “Some private companies are stipulating conditions such as a woman shall be recruited only if she is single or not pregnant if married,” Hatab al-Anazi, a ministry spokesman, is reported to have told the paper Arab News. “[That] is against the regulations approved by the ministry.”

Saudi Arabia attracts constant criticism from human rights groups for its systemic discrimination against women.

Last September King Abdullah, who has taken some tentative steps towards loosening strict gender segregation, announced that women would be able to vote in the 2015 local elections and for the consultative assembly.

In January the government enforced a law allowing Saudi women to be employed in lingerie and cosmetic shops, following a campaign by the women’s rights activist Reem Asaad. Previously women had to purchase underwear from male shop assistants. The plan is that by the end of this year women will replace men in stores selling abayas, the traditional black cloak worn by women.

Last month a poll of working women in Saudi Arabia by YouGov and Bayt.com found 65% wanted to achieve greater financial independence through their careers. Those under 25 also wanted to make use of their educational qualifications.

guardian

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Posted by on August 17, 2012. Filed under INTERNATIONAL NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

28 Responses to Amazing: Saudi Arabia To Build a Female-Only City For Women

  1. kakolwe

    August 17, 2012 at 6:05 am

    A ‘men only’ tunnel into the city woulnt be a bad idea.

  2. mbuzi

    August 17, 2012 at 6:30 am

    Bulshhht. These guys are still in the pre stone age

  3. oxmos

    August 17, 2012 at 6:53 am

    smaggling of a man there would earn you a fortune!! i will take ka under 5 there

  4. Holy

    August 17, 2012 at 7:52 am

    @Mbuzi. Being able to freely mix with female which is likely to make you fonicate, does not mean you’re civilized. Free mixing of male & female encourages imorality. You cant see the the logic. Uletontonkanya.

  5. nuts

    August 17, 2012 at 7:58 am

    and male only servants above the age of 18 must be the only ones allowed 2 work 4these women in this city…hehehehehehehehehe!!!!

  6. Prezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzo!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 17, 2012 at 8:13 am

    The promotion for Lesbians will be on rampanty not only that imorarity won’t be an excuse at all, God have mercy on us were is this world going mwebanthu kanshi?

  7. mukombe

    August 17, 2012 at 8:15 am

    God created us male and female why do you want to change. This is absurd.

  8. chilu04

    August 17, 2012 at 8:39 am

    a normal man cant live without a woman..that plan will not work.

  9. duducha

    August 17, 2012 at 8:47 am

    It seems there’s alot of them single ladies since its a qualification 2getin employed. Guys lets go there as tourists!

  10. Ba Tumfweko think Zambians are fools.

    August 17, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I woke up this morning and found someone changed the meaning of amazing.

  11. Noreen the doc

    August 17, 2012 at 10:15 am

    THY GOVERNMENT IS SO UNFAIR

  12. Poker_Face

    August 17, 2012 at 10:56 am

    @ Ba Tumfweko think Zambians are fools.
    You have cracked me up!! I couldn’t put it better myself!
    This is some bull….. The worst thing ever. They collect these women and put them in ‘Mini City for Women’ where they could possibly gas them if need be. For fear of the International community, they proclaim the liberation of women and their positive impact on the workforce ha!! Someone gat game.

  13. MBEWEZAGAZE

    August 17, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Chikala muko here they are talking about creating employment for women iwe uletontonkanya pakuchitana.

  14. mR T

    August 17, 2012 at 11:40 am

    that’s what can happen if all men become tellorists.

  15. Joe

    August 17, 2012 at 11:51 am

    What if you had a sex exchange or are transgender,could they still allow you in

  16. Sir Victor Aliwatsons

    August 17, 2012 at 11:54 am

    That means only single and divorced women will be found in such a city because a husband wouldnt love to be living distantly with their wives. It also insinuates that men have to apply for a visa to enter the town which on its own will be another source of foul. Allowing such a city would be allowing secession

  17. Robert

    August 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Kupula bane where there is a will thereis a way …. a man will still find his way there if he really intends to be there.. what if your relation is there and you want to visit what happens

  18. MZ

    August 17, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    City of women?! Homosexuality will be massive. but breaking in wouldn’t be such a bad idea… lol!

  19. Bigben!!

    August 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    ifyabupuba!!!!

  20. howcome

    August 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    where do men meet the women they marry in saudi arabia?

  21. REU

    August 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    MUSLIMS ARE MAD AND I CAN NOT BE SUPLIES ANY WAY……………

  22. Eclipse

    August 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    So no children the city wil fail

  23. Taliban

    August 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Nonses ba ****** atase, now who will be screwing those women!!!!

  24. Vincent Nyalugwe

    August 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    That is unnatural. Only moslems with their gender suppression (besides other suppressions)can think of doing something like that

  25. stigma

    August 18, 2012 at 5:04 am

    Good business opportunities for sanitary pads and collecting used ones!!!

  26. Minoc_6

    August 18, 2012 at 7:20 am

    All those who have commented seem to ve misunderstood wat this article is saying. A mini industrial part is simply a place were women will go to work away from the harassments of man en return to their home at en of the day, wat this fuss abt sex, that why we r rated among the most adulterious nation.

  27. Richie Spice

    August 18, 2012 at 10:48 am

    @ Minoc_6. Gud observation brodaman.U av read with particular attention. Peace and Love

  28. shoes

    October 3, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Our reading culture has gone down. This can be seen from the comments above less @Minoc-6 who reads,anylses and understands.